Martin Downie, the recently appointed Dean of the Faculty of Arts at York St. John University, opened the new Product shop sponsored by the university by emphasising the importance of ‘product’ as the goal of design. Buyers are interested in finished products; and that only by developing successful products can designers contribute to a strong creative community. As part of the commitment to its students the university has worked with Bar Lane Studios to give St. John’s students an opportunity “to showcase local, international and regional designers and to give space within the City for the very best from York St. John University”
This event supported by the Lord Mayor of York, represented by the Lady Mayoress, Jane Horton, was attended by over sixty guests who enjoyed the collection of mainly Christmas themed products displayed in the studio annex which is also accessible from Micklegate. The studio has created a ‘pop up’ shop with a branded ‘Design’ frontage resembling a rather posh version of those shops that mysteriously appear and disappear in empty retail units. The entire space reflects the design ethos and will compel passers-by to stop in and enjoy the displays of cards, gifts, and interestingly designed household paraphernalia.
Included in the display are wall clocks and mirrors accessorized by hats and neckwear; whipcrack christmas crackers; grazing reindeer; wooden Christmas trees and a collection of unique cards. Of a more utilitarian nature are a collection of dustpans, pails, brushes and packaging along with some small furniture items. The Design shop currently features the work of John Green, Phil Procter, Tom Harper, Heather Alstead, Jolly Smith and Will Vincent. John, Heather and Jolly are York St. John Graduates. All the other designers have strong links with York
Mark Gibson, the CEO of Bar Lane Studios, responded to the Dean’s remarks by commending the work of the Studio Manager, Ben Clowes, who was unable to be present, and the effort he put in to bring the enterprise to fruition. Mark also thanked the University for their farsightedness in adopting the studios as a means of supporting recent graduates from the various arts programmes and offering a showcase of their work. Marks final message was clear, products are intended to be sold and that the best way to support the students was buy the products on display.
The Bar Lane Studios are located at the junction of Bar Lane and Micklegate with the entrance to ‘Design’ on Micklegate itself. More information about the products will shortly be available on www.yorksj.ac.uk/creativebusiness.